Friday, 19 December 2008

Chanderpaul ad Pons Sublicius*

Watching a good part of Shivnarine Chanderpaul's as yet unbeaten 100 made me wonder. When West Indies, batting first, experience an opening order collapse, then have a partnership of around 150, how often do they go on to win the game? Way back in 2004, we created a definition of a cricket collapse. If you don't want to click on the link, the definition is 60 runs or fewer scored over three or more partnerships, with no individual total more than 35. I defined an openers' collapse as getting to the third wicket with 60 or less, or wickets two through four amounting to no more than 60. But more than that, I wanted to find innings very similar to Chanderpaul's as it stands right now. So I judged that as a final score between 50 and 100 (inclusive) and 113 to 224 balls faced. With the help of CricInfo's StatsGuru, I made a list of such occasions since 1965.

The first one doesn't quite qualify, since the openers went for 64, then a solid performance from Lloyd and Kallicharran helped West Indies on to a victory over England in 1973. It's Kallicharran's innings that is similar to Chanderpaul's.

Clive Lloyd did it to England again in 1981, when things were even worse. West Indies got as far as 65 for 4 when Lloyd dug in with Gomes for 154. In this case, Lloyd scored a bit too fast, Gomes a bit too slow.

It doesn't quite qualify, and we don't have complete balls faced statistics for this match in India, but a stand of 107 in 1983 by Gomes and Lloyd again is comparable to the feats of Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash.

Greenidge outlasted several partners until he and Dujon stopped the rot at Old Trafford in 1984. Dujon and Davis did pretty well, too.

This is another one that doesn't quite meet the parameters, but I thought was worthy of mention. In 1988 West Indies managed a measly score of 209 in the first innings at Lord's, 130 of which was down to a sixth wicket stand between Dujon and Logie.

Finally, Lara and Chanderpaul team up for 169 in 2005. That's from the CricInfo Information Age, so there's plenty to explore about that match.

But, really, I'm not blathering on like some almanac here. I'm trying to find out how West Indies won these matches. Those scorecards all show that in spite of some sterling work with the willow righting the ship, the bowlers had to hold the other team to fewer runs in usually at least 20 percent fewer overs. (The 1988 match against England at Lord's is the odd one out here, mainly, it looks like, thanks to Alan Lamb.) If those two conditions don't hold for West Indies at Napier, they'd better play for the draw.

*What's all this Latin about? Crikey, don't people read poetry any more? I think I've outlived my time.

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